Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Teflon non-stick frying pans are safe for use

A check on the word 'Teflon' yielded some interesting information.

Did you know that Teflon is a nickname given to persons, particularly in politics, to whom criticism does not seem to stick. The term comes from Teflon, the brand name by DuPont of a "non-stick" chemical used on cookware. That comes from Wikipedia.

Some "Teflon" personalities include former British Prime Minister Tony Blair who was often referred to in the press as Teflon Tony; and Russian President and later Prime Minister Vladimir Putin who has been referred to as a "Teflon leader", although the 2008 Russian financial crisis has begun to affect his image among the public. (Wikipedia)

Teflon is actually a generic name trademarked by DuPont for Polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE for short.

PTFE is a synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene that has numerous applications. PTFE is used as a non-stick coating for pans and other cookware having a melting point of 327 °C (621 °F), though its mechanical properties degrade above 260 °C (500 °F) according to DuPont. (Wikipedia) In case you are wondering on the safety of non-stick pans, various food safety and environment protection agencies in the U.S. and Europe have affirmed their positions that these nonstick coatings are safe for intended use in cookware.

PTFE is often used in containers and pipework for reactive and corrosive chemicals such as in a Delafield teflon hose. PTFE is also used as a lubricant as it reduces friction, wear and energy consumption of machinery.

Now you know..

Image source: Wikipedia

H&M's David Beckham Bodywear line ad at the Super Bowl

One of the ads that will run at the Super Bowl this year will be H&M's David Beckham Bodywear Super Bowl ad. Set to The Animals’ Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, the commercial will make its debut during the second quarter of the NFL championship final.

Only a 30-second run but is enough to tease(?).. The focus of this black and white ad is so much on the man himself, you might be wondering what exactly the ad is promoting. The man is no other than David Beckham, the 36-year-old LA Galaxy player who has just renewed his second term with the (US) football or rather soccer club. Here's the ad that will make its debut at the Super Bowl.

His bod, tattoos and briefs aside, now check out his skill. Indeed, unbelievable David Beckham!

Oh, by the way, the David Beckham Bodywear line will go on sale on Thursday, and just in time for Valentine's Day.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Year of the Dragon babies

Two colleagues of mine are expecting their first-born this year. They are good friends and coincidentally will be having their babies in the same month. Talk about good friends!

They even go shopping for baby clothes and items together as well as for maternity clothes, though one has to settle for maternity clothes plus size. Yeah, moms can look this great too.
Like all dragon years past, this lunar Year of the Dragon will see an increase in the birth of babies in China and other places around the world with ethnic Chinese populations such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. The Year of the Dragon will run until Feb 9, 2013.

The general belief is that babies born in the Year of the Dragon are blessed with courage, intelligence and good fortune as the dragon is the only celestial animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac. Even the non-Chinese are timing their child's birth to this twelve-year cycle Year of the Dragon from a newspaper article I read the other day.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Getting a good night's sleep

Back in the days when firecrackers were allowed to be fired during Chinese New Year, firecracker noise would be the order of the day any time of the day and night! It certainly had its downside!

Nowadays, Chinese New Year is a lot peaceful and quieter without all that din and excitement. Families with young children and babies would have a hard time ensuring they were not given to shocks. Now that those days are gone, the nights are certainly more conducive for sleep and rest after a hard day of entertaining and visiting.

Festival or not, a restful sleep is what everyone needs be it on a bed from log bedroom furniture or from a waterbed collection. I wonder if it's true about getting rheumatism from prolonged sleep on a waterbed, you know the belief that too much exposure to the dampness of water is bad for the body and that sort of thing..

Any idea?

Image source: logfurnitureplace.com

Man U out of FA Cup beaten by Liverpool

I hate this..Reds kick out Red Devils, but oh well!

Being out of the FA Cup means Manchester United would be able to concentrate on the English Premier League (EPL). Man U is the defending champion and is currently in second placing trailing Manchester City by three points.

Manchester United lost to Liverpool 1-2 in last night's game. Ouch!

Image source: The Star

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Back to work on the fifth day of Chinese New Year

Yesterday, my first day at work after the Chinese New Year holiday. It was tough getting back into the work rhythm just as getting back to blogging is.

The office was mostly a flood of red from the mini-decorations at some of the workstations to ladies wearing red dresses and guys in red flannel shirts. Red baju kurung (traditional Malay lady two-piece outfit) also contributed to the festive energy in the office. The Year of the Dragon is going to be one great year!
The above is a paper-cutting design of a dragon since the new year is the Year of the Dragon. This image was shot at a shopping complex where it was displaying Chinese New Year artwork such as these papercuttings and couplets for the new year. From the 7th to 13th century, paper cutting became popular especially during Chinese holiday festivals. Today, papercuttings are mainly used for decoration although they used to be used as patterns, especially for embroidery and lacquer work. (Wikipedia)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Frolics - Are You a Hardcover Book or a Paperback Book?

Reading is a good pastime and you don't need company to do it. Anyone who enjoys reading has no qualms about spending time alone or will never be short of a meaningful activity. However, with all that merry-making during this Chinese New Year holiday, this is one holiday certainly not meant for reading but more for interaction and catching up with friends and family.

It is a good change, at least for one occasion in a year. This first personality quiz of the new lunar Year of the Dragon is about reading, or rather whether you are a Hardcover Book or a Paperback Book. There is no right or wrong answer, just different. Enjoy the quiz..

You Are a Hardcover Book

When it comes to reading, you tend to stick to old and modern classics. You are picky about what you read.

You probably anticipate certain books' releases, and you snatch them up the moment they're available.

You have been building a library of books that mean a lot to you. You carefully consider every book before deciding to add it to your collection.

You believe that if a book is worth reading, it's worth paying more to have it in hardcover.

Rio de Janeiro three buildings collapsed in downtown

Oh dear! Looks like the Year of the Dragon is not starting well for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, just when they are gearing up for the soccer World Cup finals this year and the 2016 Olympics Games.

(The Guardian) - Three buildings collapsed on Wednesday night in the Brazilian city, killing at least two people with as many as 20 still missing. The buildings are thought to be commercial, and are located near the city's historic Teatro Municipal. One man described the incident as like watching the twin towers collapse on 9/11. More on The Guardian..Rio de Janeiro buildings collapse, leaving at least two dead

Source: Guardian.co.uk

(Reuters) - Two buildings collapsed in downtown Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday, in the latest incident highlighting the failure of authorities to improve the city's infrastructure amid preparations to host soccer's World Cup and the Olympics.

Rescue crews pulled four people alive from the debris, with no dead bodies found by midnight, City Mayor Eduardo Paes told reporters at the site. More on Reuters..Two buildings collapse in Rio de Janeiro

Source: Reuters.com

(Wall Street Journal) - SÃO PAULO, Brazil—Brazilian investigators searched for clues Thursday to explain the deadly collapse of three buildings in downtown Rio de Janeiro the night before, which killed at least three people and left piles of rubble at the heart of a city preparing to host soccer's 2014 World Cup finals and the 2016 Olympic Games.

With plumes of dust still rising over the disaster scene, rescuers with dogs searched for some 18 people authorities say may be still trapped among the debris. Bulldozers scooped chunks of concrete to be carried away by dump trucks.

The collapse occurred after 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in the city center, adjacent to the Municipal Theater—the nearly century-old beaux-art-styled building where U.S. President Barack Obama addressed Brazil's elites during a visit last year. More on Wall Street Journal..Buildings Collapse in Rio de Janeiro, Killing Three

Source: WSJ.com

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Flashmob at KL International Airport

Ranked #9 in Skytrax's World's Best Airports list, recently the Kuala Lumpur International Airport added another utility function to its portfolio. It was a venue of a MAS-organized flashmob. Btw, you may also want to check out the flashmob at Dubai Airport, but first take a look at the flashmob at KLIA. Enjoy!

If you enjoy watching flashmobs, here are a couple more. The one below was staged at Antwerp train station done to the tune of Do Re Mi of The Sound of Music fame,

and this one at New York Grand Central Station. I thought I saw Jackie Chan, the famous Hong Kong actor, in the crowd, at 0.13 or someone who looks like him.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Do Dragons exist?

Sky-watching on a good sunny day can be entertaining. I was doing a spot of it the other day when the sky was very blue peppered generously with very white clouds when a shape caught my eye and got my imagination working overtime a little. Here is the dragon story. Click on image to enlarge image.

Funny thing about clouds, they get your imagination going connecting to things familiar. According to Lilian Too of WOFS (World of Feng Shui), cloud formations are omens if one is able to interpret the formations.

Back to the title, Do Dragons exist? An apt question in this Year of the Dragon. Yeah, do dragons really exist?

A friend once told me that dragons do exist. Just like ghosts, they live in a different realm. Unlike ghosts, dragons come from a realm that is very affluent. Some of us do see ghosts but can we also see dragons? Check out the short videos below to decide for yourself whether dragons do exist.

Notes on You Tube:
Uploaded by cts0328 on May 18, 2008
this video is capture one day b4 the quake happen in china........

Notes on You Tube:
Uploaded by russmarrs2 on Jan 26, 2011
I was in Beijing China, then this Amazing Chinese Dragon was released from the sky, and soared by in a matter of 2 seconds! This is 100 % REAL LIVE FOOTAGE

And closer home..

This is the third day of Chinese New Year. It is named Beggar's Day and according to customs, is not a good day to go visiting if it is the first time you are visiting the person or home.

Whatever, may this Year of the Dragon bring You happiness, best of health, great wisdom and good fortune, and may all that you wish for come true.

Gong Xi Fa Ta Cai!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year! Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Dear Friends and Readers near and far,

and May all your dreams and wishes come true in the new year of the Dragon, beginning tomorrow, January 23, 2012.

Happy holiday to Everyone else..

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Chinese New Year food and their significance

Food plays a significant role in any festive celebration. It is no different for Chinese New Year where food is the excuse for families and friends getting together, sometimes.

During the festive Chinese New Year, it is not uncommon this gathering for a meal could happen to the tune of every night at some restaurant or other. This is one time in a year where caution is thrown to the wind where weight-watching is concerned and at the end of it all, a simple meal of plain blanched vegetable in garlic oil and oyster sauce is a much- welcome dish on the dinner table.

In recent years, the trend has shifted from families cooking and eating in less, to families eating out more. Restaurants serving Chinese food this time of the year are doing a brisk business with every table taken up nightly from the eve of Chinese New Year (for the customary family reunion dinner) right up to the last day of the festival, i.e., the 15th day, Chap Goh Meh.

We see another trend emerging at the same time. Buffet dinners are becoming popular vis-a-vis sit-down dinners. The former is favored as buffet dinners allow for more freedom to choose the food one enjoys. Personally, I much prefer a sit-down dinner for the family reunion dinner. This allows for everyone to be seated at the same time for togetherness and better interaction. Isn't that the point of a reunion?

Food served during Chinese New Year varies from everyday food. So what is special about food served during Chinese New Year?

The menu for a meal normally starts with this dish, the Yee Sang.
Image Source

This is a typical starter dish during a Chinese New Year meal, one that makes an appearance only during this time of the lunar year.

Yee Sang is a salad dish comprising various shredded vegetables each with a significance. Oil, pepper, five-spice powder, roasted sesame seeds together with plum sauce and lemon juice are added for flavor. Topping the dish are thinly-sliced pieces of fresh fish which gives this dish its significance.

Fresh fish signifies prosperity and abundance, enough to spill over every year. Instead of fish, other selections include vegetarian, jellyfish and Shredded Roasted Duck; Prawn and Salmon; Shredded Abalone and Salmon. All in, this dish comprises 27 different ingredients each with its individual symbolism including the oil that is poured out, circling the ingredients and encouraging money to flow in from all directions.

No Chinese New Year meal is complete without the Yee Sang tossing for a better year ahead. Chopsticks are used in the tossing in which every diner actively takes part. It can be a fun activity with everyone chipping in on what he/she wishes for for the coming new year ranging from a good salary increment to a fat bonus to promotion to striking a lottery to better health, better exam results, getting a better boss, a good husband, etc.

Other symbolic dishes served include prawns: Steamed Freshwater Prawn with Garlic and Glass Noodle. Prawns symbolize energy and liveliness.
Image Source

Delightful combination: Braised Sea Cucumber and Brocolli with Stuffed Beancurd and Dry Scallops.
Image Source

A set meal can be from 8 to 10 dishes. Other symbolic dishes may include

- BBQ Suckling Pig with Roast Chicken in Salad Sauce
- Braised Sliced Abalone with Dry Oyster and Sea Moss
- Baked Drunken Village Chicken
- Braised Eight Headed Abalone with Black Moss
- Dried Oyster and Cabbage
- Steamed Estuary Garoupa with Shredded Ginger

and the list goes on, each dish comes with an auspicious name and meaning.

Desserts also come with special meanings. Topping the list is Nian Gao, a sweet glutinous rice cake either pan-fried or steamed coated with dessicated coconut.

Mandarin oranges and tangerines are a staple fruit during Chinese New Year. They symbolize gold, wealth and good fortune. In Cantonese, 'orange' and 'gold' have the same sound though they are written differently.

More information available here on Chinese New Year food and their significance.

Slow-moving traffic - The Exodus out of Kuala Lumpur has begun

At a toll plaza in KL (Source: The Star)

With the long weekend coming up, Chinese New Year holiday being on Monday and Tuesday, the exodus out of Kuala Lumpur has started. Like I was, you could also have been caught in a traffic crawl last night in roads leading out of the city. I was caught along the Middle Ring Road 2 (MRR2) going towards Batu Caves.

A check on realtime CCTV traffic images on parts of KL shows the city is distinctly deserted this morning. Images were captured around 7:10am this morning. Take a look. You can click on image to enlarge it.

A little about each area..

Top left: Middle Ring Road 2, the highway I was caught in traffic last night. This is a long stretch of highway that links to the North-South Expressway. Places of interest this MRR2 passes through are the National Zoo and Batu Caves and which you can have a distant view of the Petronas Twin Towers and KL Tower.

Top right: Jalan Tun Razak - This is the stretch where the National Library, the National Theatre and the National Heart Centre are located. This is also the stretch that was recently flooded.

Bottom left: Jalan Raja Laut, a part in KL that is normally busy.

Bottom right: Jalan Sultan Ismail, the commercial centre of KL of highrise offices and 5-star hotels including Shangri-la, The Equatorial, Concorde Kuala Lumpur (where Hard Rock Cafe is located), The Renaissance, Sheraton Imperial to name a few.

During major festivals such as Chinese New Year and Hari Raya Puasa, the city is probably the best place to be if you want some peace and quiet.

View realtime traffic..

Friday, January 20, 2012

Need help with Credit Card processing?

Setting up a business involves looking into many aspects. If your business falls in the category of what is generally termed high-risk there is an additional obstacle to tackle pertaining to the credit card processing facility.

High risk businesses including casinos, gaming, tobacco and adult-related industry, just to name a few, may have some difficulty securing credit card processing facilities.

In this day and age, a business that does not accept credit cards stands to lose a lot of business as credit cards are a popular mode of payment. Also, some people prefer to carry credit cards instead of cash. If your business is considered high risk and you are looking for an internet merchant account processing service, you may want to check out Highriskaccount.com. Being in the business for 10 years, their experts will be able to help you with your Credit Card Merchant Account needs.

Friday Frolics - The Card Test

I like the personal touch which includes making cards and designing note-papers. This week's personality quiz is a Card test. It does not take much effort, you just need to choose the card of your choice and voila(!), your personality is revealed.

You Are Intuitive

Although you see yourself as a loner, people are drawn to you. You have a natural magnetism.

You may seem quiet and withdrawn, but you're paying attention to every single thing around you.

Deep and sensitive, you tend to impress others with your insights. You come up with the most amazing stuff.

You also tend to be psychic - so listen to that inner voice. It will rarely lead you astray.

How to lose weight the natural way

If you have a problem with your weight going like a yo yo, a toy that goes up and down, you may want to work on your fiber intake according to the experts.

Fiber has been found to help you feel fuller longer which acts as a natural appetite suppressant. Fiber also helps to regulate blood sugar levels so you avoid the spike and crash. It also helps lower cholesterol as well as reduce the risk of cancer.

How much fiber do you really need?

25-35g per day is the recommended daily amount of fiber anyone needs. If you eat plenty of fruits, veggies and whole grains daily, you can easily meet this minimum quota.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Spring cleaning for the Spring Festival

Festivals such as the Spring Festival or better known here as the Chinese New Year do have a positive impact. In anticipation of this festival that heralds in a new year, homes undergo a fresh clean look, sometimes even a new look.

The yearly spring-cleaning that takes place before the festival is a wonderful way to sweep out the old vibes making way for new vibes or chi, that ever-present life-force around us.

Even if one does not believe in the laws of metaphysics or better known as Feng Shui, getting rid of old and broken stuff in the home promotes new hope and renewal in the new year. Because of this, household departments, hardware and furniture stores are busy stops catering to homeowners who are sprucing up their home with the hope of a better year ahead.

What if new medical computer carts are needed for your medical facility? Why not! The home-front is not the only place that needs a facelift, the workplace equally needs renewed energy for a better new year.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Looking for Outdoor Furniture?

Over here in Malaysia, shopping for furniture is not a problem as there are many furniture stores available. However, sometimes getting the piece that meets with your specific requirement may not be so easy.

That is where online shopping comes in. Shopping online offers more choices be it for outdoor furniture, patio furniture or garden furniture. Even garden structures such as gazebos or even greenhouses are available online.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Auspicious days to start work 2012 - Year of the Dragon

For those who believe in reaping the good fengshui to start the new year and to ensure good vibes throughout the year, below is a chart of the Auspicious or best days to start work during or after the Chinese New Year. (Click on image to enlarge.)
As for the Auspicious color to wear 2012 or rather in the new year, it is RED.

The Year of the Water Dragon will not have the Fire element in the fengshui Bazi Chart so red is needed to provide that fire to balance out the forces of the elements in which there are five: Earth, Metal, Water, Wood and Fire.

For a year to be a good year, the Bazi Chart must have all the five elements present. Fire is missing next year. To take a pitch from Fengshui Master, Lilian Too, through Foong's post..

Since fire is missing from the chart, Lillian Too suggested that we counter it by wearing more red colour (red indicates fire) clothes this year and switching on the lights and keeping our houses bright. Do not wear black, unless you match it with something bright and for the ladies, do not carry black wallets.

So yes, the best colour for 2012 is red. Red curtains and red cushions are good. Taking it one step further - why not paint your house and car red too? LOL!

Foong who attended Lilian Too's Fengshui talk in January 1, has some great tips on the do's and dont's for next year and an easy-to-understand explanation of the Bazi Chart. Also shared are what events that Lilian Too sees from the Bazi Chart. Interesting stuff! Visit Foong's blog to find out and for Fengshui tips for the Year of the Dragon.

Image source

Monday, January 16, 2012

Search of cruise ship resumes, hopes fade of finding more survivors

I imagine the view looking out to sea from homes and hotels on this island of Giglio must be a sight to behold before this carcass of the 114,500-tonne Costa Concordia cruise ship came along.
This holiday resort island just 11 miles off mainland Italy is normally busy from May to Sep but right now is hosting some 4200 passengers of the troubled cruise ship.

Night-time searches would be suspended from now on according to a Firefighters' spokesman. Another senior firefighter told Reuters that all the areas of the part-submerged liner that are above water had now been searched, indicating faint hopes of finding more survivors. Six bodies have been found so far, 16 missing people out of the 4,200 who were aboard.

The vessel's captain, Francesco Schettino, was arrested on Saturday. He is accused of manslaughter and abandoning his ship before all those on board were evacuated.

The vast hulk of the 290-metre vessel, lying on its side, loomed over the little port of Giglio, off the Tuscan coast.

A large gash could be seen in its hull but salvage experts said its fuel tanks did not appear to have been damaged, lessening the danger of an oil spill in the pristine waters.

Schettino, the captain, said the ship hit rocks that were not marked on maps and were not detected by navigation systems. He said the accident occurred some 300 metres from shore.

There was deep anger in Italy about the accident.

Source: The Star.. Search of Italian cruise ship resumes, hopes fade

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I Hear You Knocking.. - Alligator at the door

Have you sometimes seen a picture or an image or hear a song, and instantly link it to something you have seen before?

During the recent Bangkok floods, a picture of a crocodile literally standing at a door instantly got me linking it to this song by Dave Edmunds - I Hear You Knocking. Funny stuff! Give the song a listen. It's a good ole rocking number.

Dave Edmunds with Jools Holland Rhythm & Blues Band - New Year 2009

This is Mr Croc in question. I hear you knocking, but you can't come in..

On looking for the source of this image, found that this wasn't in Bangkok but rather in Jamestown, western New York. This 3-foot alligator was found wandering in someone else’s yard. The resident immediately reported the incident around 7:45 a.m to the police. The authorities and the animal control officers came rushing to the place and were able to catch the alligator. When ask, residents didn’t know where it come from or how long had been wandering in the area. Here is the source, Alligator knocking on your door.

Apparently, alligators are known to do that - knock on doors. Here is another instance of one such spectacle..'Darling, there's an alligator at the door'.
Source: dailymail.co.uk

I Hear You Knocking.. - Alligator at the door

Have you sometimes seen a picture or an image or hear a song, and instantly link it to something you have seen before?

During the recent Bangkok floods, a picture of a crocodile literally standing at a door instantly got me linking it to this song by Dave Edmunds - I Hear You Knocking. Funny stuff! Give the song a listen. It's a good ole rocking number.

Dave Edmunds with Jools Holland Rhythm & Blues Band - New Year 2009

This is Mr Croc in question. I hear you knocking, but you can't come in..

On looking for the source of this image, found that this wasn't in Bangkok but rather in Jamestown, western New York. This 3-foot alligator was found wandering in someone else’s yard. The resident immediately reported the incident around 7:45 a.m to the police. The authorities and the animal control officers came rushing to the place and were able to catch the alligator. When ask, residents didn’t know where it come from or how long had been wandering in the area. Here is the source, Alligator knocking on your door.

Apparently, alligators are known to do that - knock on doors. Here is another instance of one such spectacle..'Darling, there's an alligator at the door'.
Source: dailymail.co.uk

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Italy Cruise ship accident

Source: bbc.co.uk

A cruise ship, Costa Concordia, carrying more than 4,000 people ran aground off the west coast of Italy. Latest reports say three people have died.

According to BBC, the Costa Concordia hit a sandbar on Friday evening near the island of Giglio and listed about 20 degrees, after which people tried to reach land in lifeboats or by swimming.

Rescue teams have been going from cabin to cabin, searching for survivors.

Italians, Germans, French and British were among the 3,200 passengers. There were also 1,000 crew on board.

Helicopters evacuated the last 50 people on the deck who were in a "worsening" situation.

Passengers were eating dinner on Friday evening, when they heard a loud bang, and were told that the ship had suffered electrical problems.

Rescued passengers are being accommodated in hotels, schools and a church on Giglio, a resort island 25km (18 miles) off Italy's western coast.

Location where CCosta Concordia, went aground..

You can read more about it on bbc.co.uk..Italy cruise ship Costa Concordia aground near Giglio

Source: bbc.co.uk

January 15 Update in pictures from CNN..

View Malaysia from the air with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)’s Hidden Journeys

Tioman Island, Malaysia © Jonathan Nock - The twin peaks towering above Mukut on Tioman Island, said to be the horns of a dragon whose body forms the rest of the island.

The Hidden Journeys Project aims to enliven the flying experience and transform it into a fascinating exploration of the people, places and environments thousands of metres below by providing inspiring information to air travellers about the parts of the world they fly over (www.hiddenjourneys.co.uk).

The latest guide to be released explores the varied landscapes that lie between Hong Kong and Singapore, including some of the most idyllic beaches and diverse marine life in Southeast Asia, from the tourist resorts of Nha Trang in Vietnam and Seri Buat in Malaysia, to the almost untouched paradise islands of Con Dao off Vietnam, and the Paracel and Spratly Islands that pepper the South China Sea.

The South China Sea has long been a conduit for human movement in Southeast Asia. For centuries, human migration and colonialism have brought change to each of the nations along this flight path, while today continuous economic growth draws ever more people to the region’s cities. As a vital trade route as well as an essential fishing ground and potential source of oil and gas, the sea is at the centre of the region’s economy. However, the value of the sea has made it hugely desirable for its bordering nations, who now claim sovereignty over it.

The flight path is bookended by two of the most important business and financial centres in Asia: Hong Kong and Singapore. Yet in spite of being more than 2,200km apart, these cities share many similarities: from their long colonial histories to their areas of reclaimed land and clusters of skyscrapers that accommodate the rapid urban growth.

Hong Kong © Mark Hooper - A view of Hong Kong harbour from Victoria Peak, with the Star Ferry, HSBC building and two-pronged Bank of China buildings clearly visible.

Hong Kong Harbour © Roger Wagner - Hong Kong's iconic harbour, with the Bank of China and Two International Finance Centre with Victoria Peak behind.

Queen's Road Central, Hong Kong 1897 © RGS-IBG image by R. C. Hurley - Now part of the main business district of Hong Kong, decorated in traditional style for Chinese New Year.

Nha Trang Bay courtesy of ntt - Nha Trang Bay was named as one of the top 30 most beautiful beaches in the world for its spectacular sands and clear sea.

Nha Trang courtesy of ntt - Nha Trang sea front has quickly developed to cater for more tourists visiting the beautiful coast each year.

Con Son Island, Vietnam © Michelle Carrupt - With a population of no more than 5,000 people, empty beaches are easy to find on the Con Dao Islands.

Singapore - courtesy of NASA - A satellite image of Singapore: notice the green areas, mostly reservoirs, and the geometric reclaimed coast to the bottom left.

Singapore at night © Andy Leo - The financial district silhouetted against the setting sun on Singapore Island.

Image source: Hidden Journeys

Friday, January 13, 2012

Try the Cool Google-gravity Search feature

SK blogged about a cool Google search feature you may want to try out just for the fun of it.

Google-gravity has got all the search results falling down to the bottom as in obeying the laws of gravity. A search on lamborghini and klhappysurfer yielded the following..
Cool, eh? Try the fun search feature here.

Friday Frolics - What's Your Creative Power?

Everyone is creative in his/her own way. Here is a personality quiz that can tell you the Creative Power that you have.

Happy frolicking..

Your Creative Power is Your Intuition

You just seem to have a knack for knowing what's going to work.

You can't really explain your creative process. You just get started, and magic happens.

You have a lot of endurance, and you're a hard worker. Once you get focused on a project, you don't stop.

You are a trendsetter, and you seem to understand what people love. You are very forward thinking.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Blogger's improved Commenting System

My blog is still on probably the first generation of Blogger template but if you are using Blogger and yours is on the current Layout format, you would be able to enhance your blog features with Blogger's improved Commenting system.

Blogger now supports threaded commenting, which means that with this new commenting system activated, you can now easily differentiate between whether someone is making a general comment on the thread, or responding to another comment on the thread.

Here is a sample courtesy of Blogger Buzz..
What do you have to do to enable this on your blog? Nothing! Visit Blogger Buzz for more information.

Beside a beautiful orange Lamborghini

On my last visit to Genting Highlands last year, outside the main hotel, Maxims Genting, people were milling around some 7 to 8 expensive-looking imported European cars, including Lamborghinis and Ferraris. The people were peering into the cars and taking pictures of them as well as having their own picture taken standing next to one.

It was a misty, cold morning. Huddled under my jacket standing just outside the hotel entrance, one lady, I noticed, spent an extraordinarily long time having her picture taken in various poses and at different corners beside an orange model, not unlike the one below.

Beautiful cars are normally pictured alongside good-looking people (or at least perceived such) or you see beautiful ladies posing beside these vehicles in a roadshow. The picture below, has a different setting however. I wonder where was this taken. Perhaps KL Chinatown?
This image is today's winner of The Star's Thumbnail, a readers submission corner of daily images. Titled, Rich dad, poor dad, this was taken by Kenny Seow @ Weng Leong with the caption Wealth disparity rearing its ugly head. Indeed.

Received three comments (two anonymous) on this post indicating that Kenny Seow is not the owner of the picture.

Profanity is not tolerated here so one anonymous comment has been deleted. I would still like to use this image because it fits in well with my post and is well-taken and reflects the reality of life.

If you are the owner and would like to have image removed, please leave a comment or you can send me an email. Alternatively, if you do not mind image to be used here, please advise as to whom it should be creditted to. Will gladly give due credit.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

All that glitters is not gold in Kampung Melayu, Johore

Indeed, all that glitters is not always gold as what the gold-panners found out at Kampong Melayu, a village near Pontian in Johore, the southernmost state in Peninsula Malaysia.

According to Wikipedia, Panning for gold often results in finding pyrite, nicknamed fool's gold, which reflects substantially more light than authentic gold does. Gold in its raw form appears dull and does not glitter.

Worthless glitter: The shiny stones that created a frenzy in Jalan Mewah in Kampung Melayu. They are believed to have come from a quarry in the Gunung Pulai area near Pontian.

For the past five days, villagers in Kampung Melayu have been digging for these supposed gold deposits on stones along Jalan Mewah.

According to Associate Professor Dr Md Radzuan Junin, head of the Geology Depart­ment of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia’s Faculty of Petroleum Engineering and Renewable Energy, the glittering stones had always been mistaken for gold.

The shiny stones are known as ‘fool’s gold’. They glow in the dark and shine under the sunlight due to its iron sulphide or pyrite content.

Since the stones came from a quarry in the Gunung Pulai area near Pontian, they are actually granite stones embedded with iron sulphide. The stones were dumped in the area together with earth by City Council for a drainage and road-widening project two weeks ago.

“Gold deposits in Johor can only be found at Gunung Arong in Mersing and Desaru. Commercial gold mining activities took place in Mersing several years ago,” added Dr Md Radzuan.

Proprietors of several goldsmith shops in the city centre revealed that the stones do not have any value. One said, “It is not gold at all and I have no interest to buy because it has no value. They can keep the stones as decorative items.”

The road that has recently been widened and paved is now riddled with potholes due to the digging. The area in Kampung Melayu has since been cordoned off by Johor Baru City Council to prevent unnecessary disruption from trespassers although one housewife is determined to "try my luck again and continue until I strike gold.”

In Malaysia, rich gold deposits could be found from Raub in Pahang to Sokor in Kelantan, while gold deposits could also be found in Mersing, Johor, according to Raub Australian Gold Mining Sdn Bhd (RAGM) director Datuk Seri Andrew Kam.

The high price of gold has been cited as a factor that led to a gold rush at this Johor village.

Here's a Google map for an idea of its location. The area in question is the 'B' area which you can enlarge map for a better view.

View Larger Map

- Expert: It’s just fool’s gold
- Village still crowded with prospectors
- ‘High price fuelled gold rush’

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Orchard Road is World's Top Shopping Street

A trip to Singapore is incomplete if your itinerary does not include a visit to Orchard Road.

The Lion City, even with the new attractions like the themeparks and the two new casinos, the Casino at Resort World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands Casino; the night safari, the various landmarks and attractions, Orchard Road is certainly not to be missed. Christmas decorations along this stretch in Singapore attract throngs of visitors every year.

With the Chinese community gearing up for the upcoming Chinese New Year celebration on Jan 23, I can imagine Singapore would now be bustling with activity and beautifully-decked in Chinese New Year decorations.

Singaporeans would be happy to know that Orchard Road has been named the world's top shopping street beating 29 other premier shopping belts including Paris' Champs Elysees and London's Bond Street.

The verdict comes from a mystery shopping survey conducted by a French marketing consultancy, Presence Mystery Shopping, in which 90 mystery shoppers were sent out to nearly 400 retail outlets in 30 cities around the world.

Four categories were the focus of the survey - cleanliness of the streets, and retail outlets, quality of retail staff, and friendliness of passersby.

Orchard Road scores highly in all the judging categories and garnered a total score of 89 points out of a hundred. Luxembourg's Avenue de la Liberte came in second with 85 points and PC Hoofstraat in Amsterdam, was third with 83 points.

Source: DailyChilli/The Straits Times/ANN

Best iPad Apps of 2011

Shopping these days does not involve just clothes, make-up, sports equipment, furniture. Shopping nowadays include buying of non-tangibles such as iPad apps.

New York Times compiled a list of the Best iPad apps of 2011. Check them out..Best iPad apps of 2011, from the perfect magazine to photo app to Jamie's recipes to music creation, etc..

Image source: NY Times

Monday, January 9, 2012

FA Cup Third Round - Man United beat Man City 3-2

After a 3-0 lead at the end of first-half, it turned out to be a nail-biting second half at the FA Cup match between Manchester United and Manchester City last night our time. Man Utd won 3-2. (Phew!)
Source: Man Utd website

Manchester United is drawn to play Liverpool in the Fourth Round.

Closer to home, it is a super start for Datuk Lee Chong Wei as he downs Olympic champion Lin Dan in a thrilling three-setter 12-21, 21-18, 21-14, in the US$1.2mil Korea Open Sunday.

Datuk Lee Chong Wei(L) and Lin Dan
Source: thestar

Sodomy II: Anwar not guilty

Looks like I'm a little late in wrapping up the post. At time of writing, this came through on The Star's running commentary:

9.25am: High Court acquits and discharges Anwar of sodomy charge.

High Court judge Justice Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah acquits and discharges Anwar of sodomy charge

Let me share what I had put together anyway.

Today, Jan 9, is a high-profile day. It is the day of verdict of Opposition leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's Sodomy II trial. Datuk Seri was alleged to have sodomised his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, then 23, three years ago.

The public is able to read a running live commentary on The Star. Here is the link to the running commentary but some pictures and comments in the meantime.

Jalan Duta Court Complex in Kuala Lumpur. -KAMARUL ARIFFIN/The Star - 9 January, 2012

Traffic entering the Jalan Duta court

A rally participant at the jalan Duta Court Complex

Tian Chua, PKR VP, tells the crowd that Anwar is expected to arrive at 8.30am

Crowd gathers at court complex

A man dressed as Justice Bao arrives at the Jalan Duta court complex

8.30am: Anwar has arrived at the court complex. The crowd breaks out into frenzied cheering and chants of "Reformasi".
Anwar, dressed in a blue long-sleeved shirt and black slacks, is in the courtroom. His wife Wan Azizah is dressed in a floral baju kurung. Anwar goes around shaking hands with lawyers.

Commotion at the main gate as people get worked up. Police have closed the gate and opened a small door on the gate to let Anwar through.

Reporters allowed into courtroom, which is packed.

S'gor MB Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim also arrives with aides, heads upstairs to court room.

According to a police source, the crowd has swelled to about 10,000. About 100 policemen deployed at the gate.

For more, go to the link.

Related articles:
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has indicated that he would take a trip to India after the court verdict today.
We want Anwar as PM, says DAP again

Source: The Star